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Old 07-10-2020, 12:54 PM   #1
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Looking on Guidance for Tow Vehicle

Hi friends! This is my first time posting here, so I'm hoping that this is the right place. I'm a college student looking to buy a car that I hope to be able to use to pull an airstream in the future--nothing longer than 23'. I'm not sure how weight varies on the different models of this size (I'll be buying secondhand, so I'm guessing it will just be a case by case basis when the time comes). What are your recommendations for a reliable vehicle that would be great as a tow vehicle and also as an everyday car? I'm looking to find a good balance between not having too huge of a vehicle (I go to school in an urban area, and parking is difficult) and also being able to tow the AS without too much worry.
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Old 07-10-2020, 01:22 PM   #2
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You are going to need a vehicle that will have a tow rating of at least 7,000 pounds. A larger SUV or a pickup. Probably not what you wanted to hear.

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Old 07-10-2020, 01:26 PM   #3
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Your target trailer is about 6,000 lbs. so just about any worthy SUV could pull it. May I suggest, as a new college student, you go for practical and long term. You might have to haul furniture or outdoor toys for you or your friends. You might some day have a companion, and maybe a 25 or 26 or 27 foot trailer is in your future.
If I was your dad, I would say, get a diesel-engine Nissan Titan pickup truck. They are a "sleeper" overlooked truck in the RV towing community, so they are priced under their competitors, and I have not met an owner who was not beaming with pride for owning one. Oh, and get one at CarMax, and financed by a credit union. Eat your vegetables, and don't do drugs. Call home.
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Old 07-10-2020, 01:33 PM   #4
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I admire your planning! You may wish to download a brochure from the Airstream website. It will have trailer weights and tongue weights in it for the trailers you may consider. The numbers in the brochure tend to be lower than actual, but it will give you a sense of what you may need. And search here for discussions on how a tow vehicle's payload affects towing limits in addition to trailer weights.
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Old 07-10-2020, 01:45 PM   #5
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Older = Lighter

Generally speaking, the vintage trailers (25+ years & older) weigh less than the late model trailers of the same length.

For example, our 22' 1956 Safari weighs in at about 3000#'s fully loaded for a trip. Gives you a lot more options with tow vehicles...

Shari
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Old 07-10-2020, 02:32 PM   #6
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to add to what was said, it's best to hold off on a tow vehicle until you have 100% settled on the trailer unless you are planning ahead for a future upgrade to something larger. For planning purposes figure at some point you will have full water tanks and enough gear that the trailer is at max weight, so for a modern 23' use 6300 lbs, older ones adjust accordingly. Then best practice is to plan for 15% of that weight on the tongue. The set-up is most stable at 15% tongue weight so resist advice to keep tongue weight low. It is a work around to accommodate a poor tow vehicle choice.

Next consider the kind of driver you are and the characteristics of your potential passengers. If you and your passengers are confident and relaxed you have broader choices around slightly smaller vehicles that are stable and safe, but the trailer will have more influence on them. If you don't mind getting jostled a bit, you have more choices as vehicles with softer suspension can be considered.

The base case would be to get a vehicle with 20-25% reserve towing capacity over the max trailer weight and 10% or more reserve above the target 15% tongue weight. Additionally consider how much gear you are likely wanting to bring and chose a vehicle with enough door label (not brochure or advertised) payload to handle the tongue weight, fuel, passengers and gear. You want to carry as much gear in the vehicle as you can as the additional weight improves stability.

Then as that as the baseline, compromise from there till you find a vehicle that will do the job and fit your lifestyle. Ask questions or private message me and I can explain the compromises.
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Old 07-10-2020, 02:43 PM   #7
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First - Check out this ride - https://www.airforums.com/forums/f46...le-174689.html It addresses the lighter weight of older trailers and the capability of vehicles that have low towing capacity.

Now, the best tow vehicle is the one you own and daily drive. A Honda Civic is not going to work, but CanAm set up a Chevy sedan to use as a tow vehicle for a 19ft AS - https://www.canamrv.ca/blog/post/hit...-family-sedan/ Plain and family oriented. Not expensive and a good go to college vehicle.

Another set of examples - click on the five 16 ASs and 5 tow vehicle video - https://www.canamrv.ca/towing-expertise/videos/ that might be close to your application. The 16 Bambi has a lot going for it. There are some recent threads that might be interesting to you.

The challenge is that the best vehicle to go to urban college is a bicycle. CanAm set up one of those too, but that may not be the best for a weekend AS trip.

Really only one set of advice. Research until you understand what you can and can not tow safely with your daily driver....... Pat

Hint - you can buy a Casita brand new for much less than an AS and sell it for good value when you have a job that allows you to move up.
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Old 07-10-2020, 03:31 PM   #8
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I'm confused how links and videos to 16-19 ft trailer set-up would help planning for a max 23 footer. i am also confused about advice to go to an organization that specializes in helping customers overcome poor tow vehicle selection. What did I miss?
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Old 07-10-2020, 04:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eileenkelly View Post
Hi friends! This is my first time posting here, so I'm hoping that this is the right place. I'm a college student looking to buy a car that I hope to be able to use to pull an airstream in the future--nothing longer than 23'. I'm not sure how weight varies on the different models of this size (I'll be buying secondhand, so I'm guessing it will just be a case by case basis when the time comes). What are your recommendations for a reliable vehicle that would be great as a tow vehicle and also as an everyday car? I'm looking to find a good balance between not having too huge of a vehicle (I go to school in an urban area, and parking is difficult) and also being able to tow the AS without too much worry.
Welcome!
You will need at least a v-6 engine or a turbocharged engine that is more powerful than one with a naturally asperated fuel system. But, multi geared transmission coupled to a drive system with a low gear ratio is a more important factor that affects towing ability. You will need a brake controller added to whatever car you get, to make the trailer's brakes work. Both a heavy duty engine oil cooler and a transmission fluid cooler must be there or be added.
A few that come to mind: Chevy Tahoe, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Volkswagen Atlas, Porsche Cyanne, Dodge Durango. Most smaller cars are not up to the task.
I've towed mostly with pickup trucks, but my first tow vehicle, waaaay back when I was a teenager, was for a popup camper. It was an old highway patrol car, a 1960's Ford Galaxy police cruiser 4 door with a really big v-8 engine. (I don't think I've ever admitted that before, on this forum )
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Old 07-10-2020, 05:51 PM   #10
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Me, I would buy something small, relatively bulletproof and cheap to own for the time being. Camry, V6 Mustang, Jeep — something to get around campus and that a potential date might want to climb into.

When, and only when, you seriously start looking for your Airstream, should you get serious about a tow vehicle. You might trip across the deal of the century on a 25’ Airstream but you bought a just slightly too small SUV now. There might be a new and excellent brand in 2-3 years. You might get a job offer in Australia upon graduation!

You really want to drag around a medium sized SUV getting 15 mpg in the meantime?
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Old 07-11-2020, 12:58 AM   #11
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Buy a motorcycle (like a Zero), scooter, or e-bike now that you can use now but later take with you camping when you buy your travel trailer/suitable tow vehicle depending on your needs at that time.
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Old 07-11-2020, 10:30 AM   #12
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Fo not rely upon the posted weight in the brochures. They are always inderstated. We know from owning 3 new airstreams! Buy you tow vehicle when you get your trailer. Life changes and unlessyou are ready to purchase now
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Old 07-11-2020, 06:55 PM   #13
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tow.........

Quote:
Originally Posted by eileenkelly View Post
Hi friends! This is my first time posting here, so I'm hoping that this is the right place. I'm a college student looking to buy a car that I hope to be able to use to pull an airstream in the future--nothing longer than 23'. I'm not sure how weight varies on the different models of this size (I'll be buying secondhand, so I'm guessing it will just be a case by case basis when the time comes). What are your recommendations for a reliable vehicle that would be great as a tow vehicle and also as an everyday car? I'm looking to find a good balance between not having too huge of a vehicle (I go to school in an urban area, and parking is difficult) and also being able to tow the AS without too much worry.
4dr. silverado or f-150....great towing, great driving around
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:32 PM   #14
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Sounds like you need a SUV. German SUV would be the best option. VW Touareg would be the cheapest to maintain and fairly reliable. Other German SUV are a bit more sophisticated and may be more expensive to maintain.

Japanese SUV would be more reliable, as they are less sophisticated. 23' Airstream is small trailer. You should be able to find plenty vehicles that are capable to tow it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eileenkelly View Post
Hi friends! This is my first time posting here, so I'm hoping that this is the right place. I'm a college student looking to buy a car that I hope to be able to use to pull an airstream in the future--nothing longer than 23'. I'm not sure how weight varies on the different models of this size (I'll be buying secondhand, so I'm guessing it will just be a case by case basis when the time comes). What are your recommendations for a reliable vehicle that would be great as a tow vehicle and also as an everyday car? I'm looking to find a good balance between not having too huge of a vehicle (I go to school in an urban area, and parking is difficult) and also being able to tow the AS without too much worry.
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:54 PM   #15
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4dr. silverado or f-150....great towing, great driving around
That's what I would go for too. Truck beds are nice to toss the stuff you don't have room for or don't want inside your trailer.
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Old 07-12-2020, 03:56 PM   #16
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.... VW Touareg would be the cheapest to maintain and fairly reliable...
.
You’re joking, right?😂 Touregs are known for being hangar queens.
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